Mice health and welfare

Ensure your mice are protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease

Mouse being gently held © iStockphoto

Mice need: 

  • Checking regularly. Mice find being caught/handled stressful but it¿s important to check them for health/welfare. A good balance should be reached. Checking Your Mice Factsheet (PDF 91.7KB).
  • Regular veterinary check-ups.
  • You to be familiar with them/their behaviour - helps notice if they¿re behaving differently and can indicate something is wrong. Mice can become unwell and go downhill quickly, but may often only show subtle signs of being in pain/distress/suffering, until it¿s very severe. Pain/distress/suffering can usually be indicated by behavioural changes.
  • Taking to a vet immediately if showing signs of illness. Mice can die if they lose 20% or more of body weight, in 30g mice this is only 6g. RSPCA Signs of Illness Factsheet (PDF 232KB)
  • Disease prevention - prevention is more successful than treatment.
  • To avoid poisonous materials (e.g. poisonous food/plants/chemicals). Contact your vet immediately if you¿re concerned they¿ve come into contact with anything potentially harmful.
  • Treating with only the medicines prescribed for them by a vet. Human/other animal medicines are dangerous to mice.
  • Watching for developing stereotypical behaviour. Barren environments/stress/frustration and/or lack of mental stimulation can lead to repetitive behaviours developing (can indicate poor welfare) so seek veterinary advice.
  • You to consult a vet if they lose fur or are/become obese. If allowed unlimited food and housed in under-stimulating environments, they can become obese.
  • Suitable gnawing material - prevents teeth growing continuously, causing health problems/pain. Mice have specialized teeth for gnawing, their incisors grow continuously.
  • A vet to check their teeth, ensuring they¿re positioned/growing correctly.
  • Handling carefully/considerately, in a confident but gentle manner. Ensure they can¿t fall/jump from a height in their home-cage. Mice can injure themselves/break limbs if they fall/are dropped from a height. RSPCA Handle Your Mice Carefully Factsheet (PDF 188KB)
  • Transporting carefully, reducing stress wherever possible. Don¿t transport them unless absolutely necessary. Reducing The Stress Of Transportation Factsheet (PDF 93KB).
  • Caring for by a responsible person when you¿re away to meet their welfare needs within your home. Provide all necessary information to look after your mice.
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